TransUnion Launches New Self-Service Analytics Platform with MapR Technology

TransUnion Launches New Self-Service Analytics Platform with MapR Technology

“MapR gives us the agility to meet demands of the business and the ability to shift when those demands change... The flexibility we have by leveraging the MapR Platform is earth-shattering given the scale we are running.”
“I’ve been in the data warehouse and business intelligence space for a long time and have never seen an aggregated data mart as big as this one that can still deliver great performance.”
-- Kevin McClowry Director of Analytic Solution Development at TransUnion

The Business

TransUnion® (NYSE: TRU) is a consumer reporting agency that provides credit information, information management services, and analytics to approximately 65,000 businesses and one billion consumers worldwide. The company helps businesses improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs, and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics. TransUnion also provides consumers with the tools, resources, and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals.

The Challenge

TransUnion wanted to transform their technology to have cutting edge capabilities nimble enough to identify trends and build innovative solutions to allow their customers to stay ahead of the curve.

TransUnion’s legacy platforms would not be able to scale and perform at the pace their vision required. One of the components of this transformation was a world class analytics environment. “What started as an IT-led project focused on providing our analysts and data scientists with greater flexibility, self-service access to full volumes of data, and big data insight discovery capabilities has turned into a strategic platform to build on,” explains Kevin McClowry, Director of Analytic Solution Development for TransUnion. With the success of the internal project, TransUnion realized they could provide this content directly to their customers to improve customer engagement while offering new services.

MapR Solution

TransUnion had partnered with MapR previously and felt confident moving forward. “TransUnion is pushing the technology envelope. We respect the MapR core engineering capability. From the beginning, the MapR team understood our vision and helped us make it a reality,” adds McClowry.

TransUnion launched a new self-service analytics platform leveraging the MapR Converged Data Platform to provide their customers with market insights and historical perspectives to inform their risk strategies. Different modules cater to different types of customers. For example, large banks can see the curve of delinquency rates based on the origination of loans and acquisition rates over time. They can also do a peer analysis to see their delinquency rates versus their peers. This new self-service analytics platform leverages the MapR Converged Data Platform with Apache Parquet, Hive, and Drill on a Tableau backend server. The solution analyzes data from the TransUnion consumer credit database going back seven years and is compiled from over 85,000 data feeds, covering about 300 million consumers.

MapR Technologies has been an integral partner of TransUnion, helping bring an innovative analytical platform to market. TransUnion is leveraging the agility, performance, and cost effectiveness of the MapR Converged Data Platform to expand their business

“A comparative solution would be 30x more expensive than with MapR… This solution will have paid for itself in the first year...And it’s not only the initial outlay costs that make the MapR Platform possible, it’s cost prohibitive to scale with other technologies… The cost savings are staggering to our business.”
-- Kevin McClowry Director of Analytic Solution Development at TransUnion

TransUnion Expands Their Business with MapR

Benefits

Self-guided research. Transunion’s self-service solution engages customers in an entirely new way. In the past, customer queries were answered with a static PDF. If customers had more questions, they spoke on the phone with an analyst. The entire process could take weeks. With this new platform, TransUnion gives customers direct access to content powered by an amazing analytical platform and team of experts. “It’s very different if you guide your own questions on your terms and timeline. It allows customers to draw their own conclusions. It’s there whenever they need it,” says McClowry.

TransUnion recognized they needed modern technologies to fully leverage the data and meet the customers’ expectation of rapid responses. Though SQL was a core part of their legacy relational database solution, including the expanded data would have added another level of complexity to the system. Using the MapR Converged Data Platform combined with Hadoop ecosystem tools, TransUnion successfully deployed a solution that used the familiar SQL tools while providing the required features in a fast, scalable, and cost-effective way.

Seamless integration with the enterprise. NFS provides seamless integration into the broader enterprise. The use of open standard APIs made it easy to bring in other parts of the organization. Multiple sources of data are linked together, which opens doors to more analytics-based solutions.

Performance and reliability. TransUnion also appreciates having more control over performance and reliability. They can monitor performance and demand by segmenting data into content areas. Once a product becomes high demand, they can serve it faster and if it’s not in high demand, they can dial down the application.

“I’ve been in the data warehouse and business intelligence space for a long time and have never seen an aggregated data mart as big as this one that can still deliver great performance,” McClowry says. “And MapR snapshots and mirroring capabilities allow us to easily revert any mistakes. Errors that could be frustrating on a smaller scale would be catastrophic on a larger scale.”

Agile product development. TransUnion needed agile development capabilities to stay competitive. “MapR gives us the agility to meet the demands of the business and the ability to shift when those demands change,” McClowry says.

TransUnion brings their new solution to market using a flexible approach. “We can be flexible in how we scale, how we structure content, or what the next solution will be. We can quickly make adjustments and iterate these products half a dozen times,” McClowry adds. “The flexibility we have by leveraging the MapR Converged Data Platform is earthshattering given the scale we are running.”

Low risk of new business ventures. TransUnion is now able to more easily explore ways to leverage their data into new business opportunities. “The cost equation has removed the risk. Now it’s a drastically different reaction when someone asks for something new. More often than not, you hear, ‘We can do that,’” says McClowry.

“Since we are building a greenfield platform, there’s a lot of technology innovation around different types of content,” he says. “It’s like a pocket knife. We’re doing data processing, interactive SQL, and statistical algorithms on the data. We can try different paths and make a business case. It starts loose and branches out into new businesses and new revenue streams. That’s just our first module. We have a healthy pipeline and nimble release of new content.”

Staggering cost savings. Using traditional technology to develop this type of solution was far too expensive. “A comparative solution would be 30x more expensive than with MapR. The amount we spent to do this made it tenable. We are able to build it, incrementally scale, and not break the bank. MapR has paid for itself in the first year,” says McClowry. “And it’s not only the initial outlay costs that make the MapR platform possible, it’s cost prohibitive to scale with other technologies. You have to buy in larger chunks. With MapR we can grow in smaller, more nimble chunks. The cost savings are staggering to our business.”

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